Directions are crazy, cake is good

Recipe Finder

May 26, 1999|By Ellen Hawks | Ellen Hawks,Sun Staff

A request by Jackie Livermont of Rapid City, S.D., for a chocolate cake she enjoyed more than 45 years ago brought an overwhelming response. Tester Laura Reiley chose a recipe from Vicki S. Bittner of Baltimore, called Crazy Chocolate Cake.

Bittner said her recipe came from a Doubleday cookbook published in 1975, which included recipes from 1929 publication. According to the cookbook, Bittner wrote, the "Crazy" name comes from the unconventional method of mixing all the ingredients at once.

"This may be the exact recipe she is looking for," Bittner said. "The cake is unusually fine-grained. I beat it 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Otherwise, there are a few chewy lumps. This does not coarsen the texture."

Another writer, Melissa A. Glass of Westminster, was looking for a cheesecake recipe made with a box cake mix, which is used to make the crust and part of the body of the cake.

Her answer came from Evelyn Brick of Baltimore, who said the recipe came from a Duncan Hines box.

Crazy Chocolate Cake

Serves 16

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 cup buttermilk or sour milk

3/4 cup unsifted cocoa

1 cup butter, at room temperature

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 cups sifted cake flour

1 cup boiling strong coffee

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Add ingredients in exactly the order listed to a large mixing bowl. Do not mix. When all ingredients are in the bowl, beat 1 minute with an electric mixer or 3 minutes by hand. Pour into 2 well-greased 9-inch layer pans and bake 35-45 minutes, or until the cakes shrink slightly from the sides of the pans and are springy to the touch. Cool upright in pans on wire racks 5-7 minutes, then invert to remove. Turn cakes right side up and cool thoroughly. Fill and frost as desired.

Tester Reiley's comments: "My cakes were completely cooked but still moist at 35 minutes. Because all the ingredients are added together, it is imperative that the butter is really softened, otherwise it does not blend well into the other ingredients. The coffee adds a slight coffee intensity to the rich, chocolaty cake. It would be nice iced with a coffee icing, although a simple white icing was delightful on mine."

Cherry-Topped Cheesecake

Serves 12-16

1 package Duncan Hines yellow cake mix

4 eggs

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese

1/2 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups milk

3 tablespoons lemon juice

3 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 (15-ounce) can cherry-pie filling

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Reserve 1 cup of dry cake mix. In a large mixing bowl, combine remaining cake mix, 1 egg and oil (mixture will be crumbly). Press crust mixture evenly into bottom and 3/4 way up the sides of a greased 13-by-9-by-2-inch pan. In the same mixing bowl, blend cream cheese and sugar. Add 3 remaining eggs and reserved cake mix; beat 1 minute at medium speed. At low speed, slowly add milk, lemon juice and vanilla; mix until smooth. Pour into crust. Bake 45-55 minutes, or until the center is firm. When cool, top with pie filling; chill before serving. Store in refrigerator or freeze covered with foil. Cut in squares to serve.

Tester Laura Reiley's comments: "This is a great party dessert. It's pretty, it's festive and everyone likes it. The crust is finer grained than a graham-cracker crust, and it tastes quite like yellow cake. The cheesecake part is very classic and creamy, with a very slight lemony tang. And the topping adds visual interest and a nice gooey, sweet accent. I cooked the cake for exactly 45 minutes, and the results were nicely moist without being too soft."

Recipe requests

* Nola J. Custis of Scotland, S.D., wants a recipe for spinach strudel using phyllo dough.

* Antoinette Pujia of Dunbar, Pa., is seeking a recipe for peach cobbler made with canned peaches.

If you are looking for a recipe or can answer a request for a hard-to-find recipe, write to Ellen Hawks, Recipe Finder, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278. If you send in more than one recipe, please put each on a separate sheet of paper with your name, address and daytime phone number. Important: Please list the ingredients in order of use, and note the number of servings each recipe makes. Please type or print contributions. Letters may be edited for clarity.

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